Ten Minute Talks

  • Why Ten Minute Talks?

    Ten-Minute Talks provide students with opportunities to articulate their thinking in a safe environment, and teachers with opportunities to gain insight into student thinking. Ten Minute Talks create a culture of classroom discourse by valuing students’ thinking, allowing for meaningful discussions, and fostering students’ mathematical flexibility. Students practice making their thinking visible, constructing viable arguments, and making sense of the reasoning of others.


    Mathematical Practices:

    The specific task used may expand the Mathematical Practice possibilities, but in general, this routine will encourage students to use: 

    SMP 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them

    SMP 2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively
    SMP 3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others
    SMP 7: Look for and make use of structure.


    What are Ten Minute Talks?

    The Ten-minute Talk is a brief instructional routine in which, when used frequently, provides quality formative assessment and develops students' skillfulness with mathematically productive discourse. Ten minute talks can be used to assess student understanding before starting a new unit of study, or to assess the development of student thinking at the middle or end of a unit. Ten-minute talks are also useful to activate thinking at the launch of a lesson or to prompt reflection on math ideas at the close of a lesson.


    Students are encouraged to think about an expression or scenario in multiple ways, first privately, then by sharing with a partner. Finally whole group discussion provides access to a variety of thought processes and encourages students to recognize the value of multiple approaches.


    A Ten minute Talk may focus on the meaning, representation, or structure of math concepts students are exploring, or develop number sense concepts. Within the Ten-minute talk structure students share their thinking and respond to the ideas of peers. Teachers listen to, observe, and record student thinking without guiding, approving or correcting. Student thinking is made visible and a safe environment is established through use of this routine, supporting all learners to make meaning of the mathematics.


    How do I Implement Ten Minute Talks?

    Ahead of time teachers have identified a mathematical goal and considered what supports their students need to engage in productive discussion. 

    To launch a Ten-minute talk, share a prompt and then provide students with 1-3 minutes (depending on the prompts complexity) of private think time. Students may record their thought on paper in a journal or using a personal whiteboard. Students then turn and talk to a partner and take turns sharing their thinking. You then facilitate a whole group discussion, recording students thinking and asking for volunteers to restate. As a last step, review student work to reflect on conceptions and misconceptions, and consider what your actions can be in response. A more detailed outline can be found in the Ten-minute Talk Process & Resources handout.